Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - January 16, 2012

Ill. Union Alleges Secrecy on Gov’s Plan to Close Facilities

A major Illinois union is accusing Gov. Pat Quinn of excluding the public from the process of deciding whether to close some state institutions.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is angry that Quinn aides have been meeting quietly with a handful of legislators to discuss closing facilities for people with mental disabilities and illnesses.

The Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled also complained about the meetings Monday.

Quinn tried to close several facilities last year but was rebuffed by lawmakers. Now he is working on a new proposal, which his office says will be announced soon. The Democratic governor says closing outdated facilities will save money and improve care.

Another group, Equip for Equality, supports the way Quinn is planning the closures.

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 16, 2012

Rantoul Woman Dies After Accident at I-74

Illinois State Police say a Rantoul woman is dead after apparently jumping from the Neil Street highway overpass in Champaign Monday afternoon.

Sergeant Bill Emery says the 46-year old woman then struck a van on Interstate 74 at 12:45 p.m., and was pronounced dead about an hour later. Emery says no motorists were injured. The woman's name is not being released pending notification of family.

Eastbound I-74 was closed for more than an hour, but the highway was re-opened to traffic at 2 p.m.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 16, 2012

Report Inconclusive on Verchota Death

The Champaign County Coroner says it will be several weeks before results are ready from additional testing in the death of Champaign Attorney Allen Verchota. The body of the 50 year old Verchota was discovered lying along the side of Briar Hill Road in west Champaign, early Friday morning, during last week's snowfall.

Coroner Duane Northrup says the results of a preliminary autopsy into the cause of death were inconclusive. Northrup doesn't suspect foul play. But he says he hasn't ruled out death due to exposure, pre-existing medical conditions or a combination of those factors.

Categories: Biography, Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Several Events Scheduled to Remember Rev. Martin Luther King

There will be music and speeches at Friday's Martin Luther King Jr. Countywide Celebration in Champaign. It's the 11th year for the annual program which is just one of several area events remembering the accomplishments of the late civil rights leader.

But besides looking at King's legacy, the program also looks at the contributions made by Champaign-Urbana area residents. Celebration Committee member Joan Walls says the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award will go to Champaign Consortium director Al Anderson.

"When you look at Al's biography, he talks about wanting to make a difference", says Walls. "He talks about being raised in Cabrini-Green, one of the nation's most dangerous public housing complexes in the Chicago area. And it's always been a passion for him not only do great things for himself, but to reach out and be of service to so many others."

Others being honored at the Friday program include Donna Camp, for her work in organizing the Wesley Evening Food Pantry, and Carlos Donaldson, who worked for the desegregation of Urbana schools as a member of the Urbana Neighborhood Committee.

In Danville, activities remembering Dr. King include the annual march and motorcade through the city. Danville Human Relations Administrator Sandra Houston says everyone is welcome to walk or ride in the event, which begins Monday morning at 10 AM at the corner of Main and Logan in Danville.Along the way, participants will stop at the Martin Luther King monument at the corner of Jackson and Williams for a small ceremony. Then, it's on to St. James United Methodist Church at 504 North Vermilion, for the celebration service at 11:30 AM.

Houston says the event, which started in 1986, is a happy time for the participants. "We recognize we are a city of different cultures and ethnic groups, and it's just our time to come together and fellowship with each other", she says. "People are there because they believe, they believe in civil rights, they believe in and human rights, and they believe in the legacy of Dr. King."

At the Eastern Illinois campus in Charleston, members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity will mark the 25th anniversary of their Martin Luther King March and Candlelight Vigil on Monday afternoon. The event is open to the EIU and Charleston community.

The march begins at 5:30 PM at Thomas Hall on the EIU campus, with participants proceeding to the Martin Luther King Union, where a vigil program will be held in the Grand Ballroom at 6 PM.

Khelan Todd of Alpha Phi Alpha's Zeta Nu chapter at EIU says the march and vigil brings students and faculty together. "It's very warm and welcoming", says Todd of the annual event. "I think the students and the faculty really enjoy it."

Other Champaign-Urbana programs remembering Martin Luther King:

FRI, Jan. 13th: MLK Countywide Celebration, 4 PM, Hilton Garden Inn, 1501 S Neil, Champaign. Keynote Speaker: State Sen. Kwame Raoul. Music: Noah Brown & Company and Mo' Betta' Music program, directed by Nathaniel Banks.Free to the public.

SUN Jan 15th, The annual Martin Luther King Community Celebration, 5 PM, University of Illinois Krannert Center.

MON, Jan. 16: The Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast, 8:30-10:30 am, at the Vineyard Church, Urbana.

MLK Day Events in Danville:

SUN Jan. 15: MLK Scholarship Banquet, 4 PM, Days Hotel, 77 N. Danville. The recipient of the annual MLK scholarship will be announced. Banquet admission: $20. Reservations taken through noon on Friday, Jan. 12th, at Danville Human Relations Dept., 217-431-2280.

MON Jan. 16 MLK March/Motorcade, Vigil & Service, motorcade beginning at 10:30 AM (lineup starts at 10AM) at corner of Main & Logan, with 11:30 AM Service at St. James United Methodist Church, Danville. Info: Danville City Hall: 217-431-2280.

MLK Day Events in Decatur:

SUN Jan. 15, 4 PM Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gospel Concert. Free. Antioch Missionary Baptist Church 530 W. Mound Road Decatur, IL Info: Tony Carson, 520-7260.

MON Jan. 16; "Remembering the Dream" panel discussion, Old King's Orchard Community Center, 815 N Church St., Decatur IL.

MLK Day Events in Charleston;

MON Jan. 16 MLK March and Candlelight Vigil, with March beginning at 5:30 PM at Thomas Hall on the EIU campus, and Vigil at 6 PM at the Grand Ballroom of the MLK Jr. Union. Open to EIU and Charleston community. Contact: Khelan Todd, khelantodd@gmail.com

Categories: Civil Rights, History

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

U of I Professors Criticize Enrollment Management Plan

University of Illinois Michael Hogan's controversial enrollment management plan came in for criticism in a memorandum sent to the Board of Trustees Thursday by 123 professors holding chair appointments on the Urbana campus.

The letter was written by Professor Edward Kolodzief, director of the U of I Center for Global Studies. He argues that treating the University of Illinois as a single entity for enrollment purposes creates an "artificial whole" that is less than the sum of the school's three individual campuses. Kolodzief raises concerns that such "rebranding" of the U of I will create new administrative layers. At the same time he says it could weaken the capacity of each campus to match resources to student needs. Kolodzief says a centralized enrollment process will add new layers of administration, which won't have the knowledge and experience that current admissions staff at each campus have developed.

"It is a continuing process of people expert in Admissions to have a marriage between the diversity of the student body that we bring here ... and the faculty capabilities that we have", Kolodzief said in an interview with Illinois Public Media. "And you can't command that."

Kolodzief also raised concerns that a centralized enrollment management system will impair the university's fund-raising efforts. And he says it would drive away top faculty talent.

"Eventually, we all die, don't we?" says Kolodzief. "And other people have to replace us. And this university will survive, I would like to believe, even at a point now if which we have some challenges. But on the other hand, it might not survive as well as it might, if we, in effect, begin losing the core leadership --- intellectual and academic --- of our core faculty."

The 123 Urbana faculty members who signed the letter include novelist Richard Powers, pianist and conductor Ian Hobson and Nobel Physics Laureate Anthony Leggett.

PDF Text of Memorandum: Hoganfinalshortercopy.pdf

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

U of I Finds Troyer Sent Emails; Troyer Denies It

An investigation has concluded that a pair of anonymous emails sent to the University of Illinois' Faculty Senates Conference were written by Lisa Troyer, the former chief of staff to U of I President Michael Hogan.

The investigation conducted by the data analysis firm, Duff & Phelps, and the law firm Jones Day, found no evidence of 'hacking' or vulnerabilities in the U of I's network, and that the emails in question were written and sent from Troyer's laptop.

"The circumstances overwhelmingly pointed to it - all that activity happening on her computer, and there was no evidence whatsoever that there was a third party hacker," said Peggy Daley of Duff & Phelps.

The messages urged members of the panel not to investigate who leaked their report, which was critical of parts of Hogan's enrollment management plan. Both of the messages, which originated from aboutintegrity@yahoo.com were signed by an unnamed senator.

One of the recipients of the messages saw embedded data in the email, which indicated that it was created on a computer with the user account of 'troyer." That was brought to the attention of the U of I's IT department, University ethics department, and the subsequent investigation ensued.

Investigators reviewed more than 3,500 emails from Troyer's email account from the month of December, and additional emails from the fall, which contained key search words.

University of Illinois Ethics Officer Donna McNeely said the investigation revealed that no other person, including Hogan, had prior knowledge about the messages sent to the Senates Conference. McNeely said Hogan spoke with Troyer on Dec. 12, the day the e-mails were sent.

"(Hogan) indicated that the calls on the night of Dec.12 were Dr. Troyer informing him of the concern and the potential hack, and his encouragement and direction for her to contact university security," McNeely said.

University spokesman Tom Hardy said this case will not have an impact on President Hogan's role at the U of I.

Meanwhile, Troyer has submitted a statement, saying she did not write or send the e-mails. Troyer also said she asked the University's Executive CIO to investigate the matter within minutes of learning that an anonymous e-mail to the University Senate Conference listserv being attributed to her, indicating she was the one who first instigated the investigation. But Troyer said her resignation was still best decision.

"As the investigation continued, I recognized that without and until there is an explanation of the source of this situation, I cannot effectively fulfill my duties as Chief-of-Staff in the Office of the President and, for this reason, offered my resignation on 1/3/2011," Troyer said. "Again, I had nothing to do with these e-mails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed."

President Hogan thanked the investigative team for its work, and expressed his disappointment in the events.

"The investigative team has made a thorough examination of the facts on which to base its conclusions," Hogan said. "This was a disappointing event, and we have taken the necessary steps to address it."

U of I Board of Trustees Chris Kennedy said that the "misguided attempt by one individual to sway opinion must not distract the university community from important work around the enrollment management initiative."

Troyer had served as Hogan's chief of staff since July 2010. Troyer also holds an appointment as a tenured professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the Urbana campus and plans to resume her teaching duties.

"The University has very strong policies and procedures and a code of conduct regarding how we as an institution expect employees to behave," McNeely said.

McNeely said it is possible Troyer violated the University's code of conduct and appropriate use policy, and that campus officials will consider whether those violations existed in this case.

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Snow Removal Requirements in Effect for Urbana & Champaign

The cities of Champaign and Urbana both declared that their sidewalk snow and ice removal requirements are in effect, as of Friday afternoon.

Both cities have ordinances in place allowing city officials to require that property owners in designated areas clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within a certain amount of time, following a snowfall of two inches or more.

In Champaign, owners of property in the Downtown and Campustown areas have 48 hours to clear their walks. That means walks must be cleared by Sunday, January 15th at noon. However, the city says they will not start enforcing the requirement until Tuesday, January 17th.

Urbana is exercising its sidewalk snow and ice removal requirement for the first time. Property owners in Downtown Urbana, the University district and the South Philo Road area have 24 hours --- or until 2 PM, Saturday, January 14th, to clear their sidewalks.

In both cities, sidewalks that are not cleared in time may be cleared by the city at the owner's expense.

Categories: Government, Politics

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Investigation Finds Troyer Responsible for Sending Emails

Here is a statement released by the University of Illinois about the investigation into a series of anonymous e-mails sent to the University's Senates Conference

An investigation was completed by outside experts for the University of Illinois into a pair of anonymous emails sent to members of the University's academic senates conference, in connection with an enrollment management initiative. Conducted by Jones Day and Duff & Phelps, the investigation concluded there was no evidence of "hacking" or vulnerabilities in the network and concluded that the emails were drafted on and sent from the laptop of the former chief of staff to the president, and that the laptop was in her possession at the time the emails were created and sent.

The two anonymous emails were sent on December 12 and an inquiry was launched later that day to ascertain the source and whether the University's information technology security was compromised. That inquiry was led by the University IT department. The incident was later reported to the University Ethics Office, which consulted with the IT department and assumed control of the investigation, assisted by the University's chief legal counsel. On December 22, the president approved the use of outside experts to assist in the investigation. External legal counsel Jones Day was retained, who engaged forensic data analyst Duff & Phelps to conduct an independent forensic analysis.

In a final report released today, which was based on a comprehensive forensic examination of emails and computers, and interviews with relevant personnel, the investigative team drew the following conclusions:

- The emails were composed and sent from the University laptop computer of Lisa Troyer. Examination of browser activity, firewall logs, email headers and email fragments found on the Troyer laptop all support this conclusion. Troyer resigned her administrative post as chief of staff to President Michael J. Hogan effective immediately on Jan. 4.

- The investigative record does not support a conclusion that any other person, including Hogan, knew that Troyer intended to send or had sent the anonymous emails.

- Troyer's laptop computer was not improperly accessed and was in her possession at the time the anonymous emails were sent. There is no evidence of hacking or vulnerabilities in the University network. Hogan thanked the investigative team for its comprehensive and expeditious work in a four-week period that included the year-end holiday season, and expressed his disappointment in the events.

"The investigative team has made a thorough examination of the facts on which to base its conclusions. This was a disappointing event, and we have taken the necessary steps to address it," Hogan said.

On December 12, 2011, two anonymous emails were sent to 20 members of the University of Illinois Senates Conference (USC). Both emails were identified in the text as having been written by an unnamed senator, and the address from which the emails were sent, aboutintegrity@yahoo.com, did not identify a specific individual as the sender. One of the recipients noticed embedded data in the email indicated that it was created on a computer with the user account of "troyer." This was quickly brought to the attention of the University IT department, the University ethics department, and the subsequent investigation ensued.

Investigators reviewed more than 3,500 emails from Troyer's University email account from the month of December, and additional emails from the fall, which contained key search words. Troyer voluntarily supplied access to her personal gmail account and records of calls to and from her cell phone. Troyer, President Hogan and others were interviewed, and Duff & Phelps performed a rigorous forensic analysis of the hard drive of Troyer's laptop, examining Internet activity, browser history records and deleted material. They were able to verify that "the system's firewall was functioning normally" ... and the "activity found on the network security systems was consistent with activity found on the Troyer laptop."

U of I Board of Trustees Chair Christopher G. Kennedy said that the "misguided attempt by one individual to sway opinion" must not distract the University community from important work around the enrollment management initiative.

"This is an unfortunate incident and a personal, ethical lapse which the President moved swiftly to investigate," said Kennedy. "There is no relationship between this incident and good work being done on key initiatives, like the enrollment management plan, which is the result of months of research, hard work and consultation with faculty groups and others. The Board and the administration have made great progress toward improving this essential function, addressing concerns as they have been expressed. This important work will continue, unhindered."

Troyer served as the President's chief of staff since July 2010. Troyer also holds an appointment as a tenured professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on the Urbana campus and plans to transition to back to teaching and research.

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Statement from Lisa Troyer About Anonymous Emails

An investigation by the University of Illinois finds that Lisa Troyer was responsible for sending a series of anoymous e-mails to the Senates Conference. Troyer had resigned as the chief of staff to University President Michael Hogan. Here is her e-mail statement in which she says she "did not write or send the e-mails under question."

Dear Members of the Press,

In recent days, you've written or called to request a statement from me regarding my resignation. I did not respond, as it is against University policy to make public statements while an investigation is underway. Now that the investigation is complete, I offer a statement, which follows my sign off, below.

Sincerely,

Lisa Troyer ======================

I recognize that some may have wondered about my silence since my resignation was announced. I think it's important to recognize that the University's policy is not to comment while an investigation is underway, a policy that I believe is important to honor, which is why I declined to respond to earlier requests for comment.

First, let me thank my many colleagues, friends, and family members for their outpouring of support and kindness in the last few weeks, as well as their recognition that I would not engage in the kinds of acts that have been attributed to me.

I did not write or send the e-mails under question.

I asked the University Executive CIO to investigate this matter within minutes of learning that an anonymous e-mail to the University Senates Conference listserv was being attributed to me and, in fact, I was the one who first instigated the investigation. I followed all directions given to me by the University information technology staff and others involved in the investigation at all times.

While University information technology staff worked on this, I also alerted the University Ethics Officer and initiated an inquiry.

As the investigation continued, I recognized that without and until there is an explanation of the source of this situation, I cannot effectively fulfill my duties as Chief-of-Staff in the Office of the President and, for this reason, offered my resignation on 1/3/2011.

In addition to initiating the investigation myself, I have cooperated fully, answering all questions honestly, providing all information requested, and respecting the integrity and confidentiality of the investigation by withholding comment while it was underway.

I'm grateful for the efforts that many undertook during the investigation, including those of the external consultants that the President had the foresight to engage. While the investigation didn't reveal the source of the e-mails or how they were sent, it also wasn't able to exonerate me. That's disappointing because I recognize that I cannot resume my position as an effective chief-of-staff in the absence of such an outcome.

Again, I had nothing to do with these e-mails and, although the source and motivation have not yet been uncovered, I believe that in the fullness of time, the truth behind this matter will be revealed.

Categories: Education

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - January 13, 2012

Champaign Attorney Found Dead in City Street

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday afternoon on a Champaign man whose body was found on a west side street.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Nortrup says 50-year old Allen Verchota was discovered in the 2300 block of Briar Hill Drive about 1:30 a.m.

Verchota was attorney with an office in Champaign, but hadn't practiced law recently. Nortrup says he showed no signs of trauma, and Verchota was wearing a couple of jackets and workout pants.

County Sheriff's Lieutenant Ed Ogle says it's possible the man had been drinking, since beer purchased at the nearby Walgreen's was found nearby.

Categories: Government, Politics

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